Valentine's Day already

I overlook the garden as I write this with a grey-headed shrike calling the morning awake.

We had a wonderful trip to the Kalagadi, but I must add that one very steamy night I thought my brain was scrambled. It was about 35 degrees at midnight, no air-con or fan and while we are 'African' even that was too much for me to deal with. The only solution was to stagger to the shower to cool off and lie on the bed with a wet towel over me for the rest of the night with litres of water within arm reach.

We did not leave the camps without seeing at least 5 lions daily (we saw 67 various lion) with mother and young, fighting territorial males as well as a magnificent male leopard who treated us to an hour of his time. It rained too. Lakes of water in the Nossob river and springbuck paddling and grazing.

Even in the excessive heat (David keeps on muttering that I exaggerate but at the top temperature of 43C I think I have made the point), I managed to complete various of my WIPs (work in progress) and enjoyed doing them too. I finished scarves and baby blankets which was a great relief as I could then make way for my new stashes.

I wasn't as passionate about yarns when we were last in the Netherlands and since I've become hooked I have wanted to buy some Scheepjes stone-washed cotton and here it is. A wonderful group of women from Kwa-Zulu Natal ( have started importing it and here is part of my stash. I will be making a cheerful crocheted throw, not for anyone else but me. SO I am extremely thrilled and delighted with the thought of sitting quietly and enjoying these projects.

I've also wanted to use alpaca. As you know our rand-dollar-pound exchange is crazy and the only way I can (realistically) buy any is on a sale. (Thank you for having one Arthur Bales). So I bought enough to make a funky knitted cardigan. Here is a little pile of the alpaca. I will add photos of progress during the next few weeks.

Do not despair, calligraphy still plays an important role in my day and I once again have two classes - evening and morning. This year the theme is 'Its's a Creative World' with the sub-theme being the 'Gentle Art of Letter Writing'. How many of us sit down and write LETTERS or POST CARDS to one another: friends, family or anyone else for that matter?

One of my great friends Lin Kerr did a wonderful workshop in 2011 and I will be adapting some of her concepts for my students.

We start with Copperplate - not truly a calligraphic hand, but certainly a 'ladies' hand and we began the year by learning this elegant hand (which evokes childhood and grandparents) and then we will write to each one of our group - just as a beginning.

Wishing you a happy Valentine's day - if someone doesn't spoil you, spoil yourself. I know which direction my car will take me if necessary!